Serie A Spotlight: La Dea Conquers Naples, Allegri Hallucinating & More

Serie A returned to action after March’s international break on Saturday with a set of high-stakes fixtures. With a fiercely-contested battle for the European spots heating up, Atalanta, Lazio, and Milan took significant steps toward achieving their seasonal targets. 

On the other hand, Juventus and Napoli continue to stutter. But while the former is still on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League again, the latter’s European aspirations are now in tatters. As we brace for a busy Monday, it’s time to look at the most noteworthy takeaways from Saturday’s program. 

Calzona’s Honeymoon at Napoli Comes to Crashing Halt

Napoli’s mini-revival under new boss Francesco Calzona suffered a fatal blow as fellow European-chasing rivals Atalanta thumped the reigning Serie A holders 3-0 in their backyard. After avoiding defeat in their first five league outings under Walter Mazzarri’s successor (W2, D3), Partenopei seemed well-positioned to contend with out-of-form Atalanta.

Without a Serie A win since mid-February, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men looked destined for a fifth consecutive defeat to Napoli. Instead, they took advantage of their hosts’ woeful defending to establish a two-goal cushion at halftime through the likes of Aleksey Miranchuk and Gianluca Scamacca. 

Teun Koopmeiners’ late goal off the bench capped off Atalanta’s scintillating performance, leaving Napoli stranded in eighth, six points adrift of fifth-placed Roma. Unfazed by a 17-day hiatus from competitive football, La Dea threw a spectacle in Naples to bridge the gap on fourth-placed Bologna to four points. 

Max Allegri’s Post-Game Reactions Offend Common Sense

It’s like everyone except for Massimiliano Allegri is aware of an ominous crisis at Juventus. Bianconeri succumbed to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat at Lazio, extending their dreadful run to one win in their last nine Serie A matches. Moreover, they’ve drawn a blank in back-to-back games for the second time this term. 

As if watching their side underperform for months isn’t frustrating enough, Juventus fans must cope with Allegri’s insulting post-match interviews. Instead of admitting defeat and flaws in his defensive-minded tactics, the experienced coach maintains positive vibes, hailing his team like a stroke of poor luck rounded off another sub-par performance. 

Losing points with the last kick of the game is a textbook definition of a bad beat. It could happen now and then. But frankly, Lazio gave Juventus a taste of their own medicine at the Stadio Olimpico. The Turin giants have been synonymous with taking points with goals in second-half stoppages.

However, that doesn’t mean Juventus didn’t deserve to lose. Au contraire! Allegri would be wise to rethink his approach instead of keep tickling supporters’ nerves.

Most Prolific Serie A Travelers Take Florence by Storm

Stefano Pioli must be wondering how to make his Milan side perform at home as impressively as they do on the road. Rossoneri picked up where they left off before the international break, extending their winning run in all competitions to six games with an action-packed 2-1 win at Fiorentina.

Alongside runaway leaders Inter, Milan are one of only two sides to have won 10+ Serie A games away from home. Much of the credit for such a formidable road record goes to Pioli’s free-flowing frontline. Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao inspired the 19-time Italian champions to another victory outside San Siro.

More importantly, Milan remain the only team in Serie A to have found the net on every league travel in 2023/24. With that in mind, it’s unsurprising they’re the division’s joint-best-performing away attack. They’ve bagged an eye-catching 34 goals at an average of 2.12 per game. 

In comparison, they’ve only tallied 23 in 14 at San Siro. Such form fluctuations are perhaps the principal reason Milan will probably have to settle for a runner-up finish this season. 

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